Traditional African Stories as Learning Materials
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Oral story-telling, conducted through many generations of Southern African peoples during the period before the onset of Western colonial influence, provided one of the most significant developments in traditional African education and continues to offer extensive opportunities for research and development in the present day. In the first place, the stories contain invaluable data concerning the values and attitudes of the holistic philosophy through which Southern African communities endeavoured to maintain their way of life as pasture-farmers, during the years after they had crossed the Zambezi river from the interior of the continent. Holism represented an attempt to come to terms with the basic needs and aspirations of African pastoral life. It emphasized the essential unity and interdependence of all powers and objects in the universe, under an almighty Creator (Nkulunkulu, Modimo, Mwari, Musikavanhu, etc.); the common humanity of all mankind; and the sharing in certain carefully-defined rights and obligations by all the members of each social group, living or dead. These ideas were implanted in the minds of each successive generation, as a means of maintaining continuity with past experience and avoiding precipitate changes in the future.